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General Search Techniques

For help searching specific records see Help with British Origins, Help with National Wills Index and Help with Irish Origins.
NameX
NameX is a proprietary name-matching tool which allows you to find family records for names which have common variations in spelling or which may have been spelled incorrectly on some records.
  • Exact only - Finds only the names that match the spelling you entered exactly.
  • Close variants - Finds names which are common variants of the spelling you entered.
  • All variants - Finds names which match all known variants of the spelling you entered.
Click here for more Help using NameX
Saved searches
You can save your last 10 searches, which will be stored in your user area for British Origins or Irish Origins. These can be accessed when you log onto the site.

Just click the ‘Save search’ button on the Records Found page after doing a search to save the results.
Narrowing your search
  • Use Wildcards only where appropriate
    Wildcard characters can be used to simplify searching. However, use wildcards only where appropriate, rather than returning unwanted names and using up record credits.
  • Narrow the Year range
    All records are searchable by Year range. Try limiting the search to the year range of interest, rather than searching a wide range of years and finding too many unwanted records.
  • Check the dataset covers the right geographic area
    Some datasets cover certain counties. Make sure that the dataset you are searching covers your geographic area of interest.
  • Are the index records of interest?
    Read the information pages on each dataset to make sure the index you are searching is relevant to your family history research.
  • Read Help on Searching pages
    Each dataset may have peculiarities in how details were recorded, eg. surname spelling conventions or abbreviations. Read Help on Searching pages on the relevant dataset to check these details.
Wildcards – what are they and how can I use them?
Wildcards - asterisk * and question mark ? - can be used to simplify searching, particularly where spellings may vary.

     *  represents zero or more characters
     ? represents a single character

eg. Searching on cook will find COOK.
Searching on cook* will find COOK, COOKE, COOKSON.
Searching on all?n will find ALLAN, ALLEN, ALLIN.
Searching on all?n* will find ALLAN, ALLEN, ALLIN plus ALLANBY, ALLANSON, ALLINDER, ALLINGHAM.

If Wildcards are not used, an exact match is required between entries in the index and the data you are searching on, as the first example above.

Use Wildcards only where appropriate, rather than turning up too many unwanted names. Using Wildcards may also lengthen the search time, particularly * and where it is near the start of a name.

You don't need to enter an * on forename searching. It is added automatically to ensure that you don't miss entries which contain a second forename or initial.
Sorting results by column heading
Click a linked column heading (eg First Name, Place, Country etc) to sort all search results on that column.
Click linked column headings to re-sort results
All records matching your search will be re-sorted.
If you have more than one page of results, re-sorting on a page after the first page will return to the first page again. However, because you have re-sorted the results, the "new" first page will contain different records than the original page.

Any blank fields will be displayed first. Click the Next page button to see more records.
Old and New style dates
Before 1752, New Year in England started on 25 March.
When New Year was established as starting on 1 January, the terms Old Style and New Style came into use when quoting dates.

So, 15 February 1715 (Old Style) would be quoted as 15 February 1716 (New Style). When the day fell after 24 March, the year was the same.

In some datasets, records before 1752, and days before 25 March, give the year in both Old and New Style, eg. 23 January 1741/2 (where 1741 is Old Style and 1742 is New Style).

When searching always use New Style dates.

The change of the year end in 1752 accompanied the change from the Julian calendar to the new Gregorian calendar. This required the removal of 11 days from the year, between 2 and 14 September 1751 (in theory you should not find any English documents dated 3 to 13 September 1751). This had a side effect in the British taxation system which still remains. The Inland Revenue did not want 1751 to be shorter than other years, so they added 11 days to the financial year. This had been in line with the old calendar year which ended on 24 March, and so the 1751 financial year did not end until 5 April 1752. The British fiscal year has run from 6 April to 5 April ever since.
Library 'Go to Page' Search
Enter a page number of the book you are browsing and click the GO button to load that page.

Please note  "Page number" here is the actual page number in the book.
Go to the Contents or Index Pages of a book to find actual page numbers.
Library 'Go to Page' Search - Using the Children's Employment Commission Index
Please note  "Page number" here is the actual page number in the book. Go to the Index Pages of the book to find actual page numbers.

Within the Children's Employment Commission Index numbers without any prefix letter refer to pages of the General Report, which is not available here.
The Roman numerals I and II refer to the First and Second Parts of the Appendix, respectively. Only the Second Part is currently available here, so you will not be able to access any page whose reference is preceded by "I". Note however that the Second Part has a section I, which shouldn't be confused with the reference to the First Part.

The capital letter immediately before the number of the page indicates that the reference is to the Report of a Sub-Commissioner; the lower case italic letter before the page number, that the reference is to the Evidence collected by a Sub-Commissioner. There is fresh pagination to each capital letter and (mostly) to each lower case italic letter.

To access the image corresponding to a reference, select the Section letter from the dropdown list and enter the Page number in the "Go to page" box and click the GO button to load that page.

Example:

The first index entry in this sample gives references to:
  • Brick and Tile-making in Ireland, in Part II, Section n Pages 64 & 65
  • In Staffordshire in Part II, Section q Page 62
  • And in the Lye, Section q Pages 82 & 83.


  • To get to the page concerning Staffordshire, you would select Section "q" from the dropdown box, and enter Page "62".

    The third entry here is James Bridge, of Foot's Cray, Kent.
    To get to the relevant page you would select Section "r" and enter Page "10".

    The last entry refers to Part I, which is not available currently.


    See also:  Search Tools: Using Origins.net Features Part I
      Sorting and Storing: Using Origins.net Features Part II